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Why You Are Here 



A Message for the 
Signal Corps Soldier 




Eastern Signal Corps Schoola 

United SULes Army 

Fort Monmouth, N, J. 

1943 



Why You Are Here 



The American i>eOip]e pride thnmsclveg upon theJr initiative and 
resourccfulnf^ss. They expect those- normal qualttles ol tlie American 
citizen in our American citizen army. But no man can be expected to siiow 
initiative and resourcefulness unless lie understancis what he Is doing and 
why he is tloing It. You are an American soldier and, I believe^ an ahove 
average .solcher. You must understand what you are about to do and why 
you do it, if you are to make a good Job of it. We know that you will tr^, 
but your p.fSorU will be much more successful 11 you see the why's and 
wherelore'Sr 

You have entered tiie Signal Corps School, This Is one of the older 
schools of the United States Army. It has an enviable record. Many ofTicers 
frojn other armies have come here to study otir methods. You will be in 
this school anywhere from three to eight months, depending upon the 
coursf> in which you are enrolled. What you do in this time will determine 
later on how much you contrihute to winning the war. If you do a good 
job, you will graduate, able to save your own life il you have to, and able 
to assist in saving the lives o£ many by giving the Army good signal 
communication. Let us see what you are going to do while at school and 
why you are going to do it. 

When you were transferred hero you were promoted. You were paid in 
advance for the worlv you were about to do. This is iii^e a scholarship in a 
college or university. You get the money so long as your marlfs and worlc 
are good. If your work does not hold up and you can't complete the course 
sueeessfullyf you will lose your scholarship. That is, you will be reduced 
to the grade of private. There is no stigina attached to thi.? reduction. It 
is Jtist as much an administrative reduction as your promotion upon 
coming here was administrative. What we arc after is successful grad^ 
mates and everyone in the School will be happy if you complete your work 
successfully and hold the grade or rating you now have. 

The biggest part of your job is to learn the specialty to which you 
are assigned. That may be cable splicer, radio repairman^ radio operator, 
wine chief J or any one ot a dozen more specialties, To learn your job, you 
wlil go to school six hours a day. In most of the oourses^ that is not 
enoEi<;b time to learn your %vor]t, unless you are already experienced or 
unless you are ext^eptionally quiclt. To offer you an opportunity for 
additional study, each company sets aside a period of an hour and a 
half for you, when you may stud>' if you wish. INTo one will compel you 
to unless you are getting behind in your work. You will know, yourself, 



whp-thcr you npod this time for study or whether you can go off to the 
PX Instead. Signal Corps men must do their jobs many a time without 
m.uc]i supervision, The-y ieam to stay on the job until they "get the mes- 
sage through," Using this time to study if you need it is a beginning of 
that training; to stick to your job until lt'5 done, regardless of whether you 
are watched or not. 

No matter how good you might be at your spwrfalty, you wouldn't 
be much good to the Army It you ended your st:hool T^'Orlt with your 
muscles soit. All school work may be fine for a bookworm, tmt it doe&n't 
make a soldier of the kin<3 it takes to beat Japs and Heinies. They are 
tough and we must he too. In the field offlccrs and soldiers oiten have to 
work twice around the clock witJiout rest. You must be fit to do that. So to 
keep you in phj-sical trim and to even improve your condition^ there is 
pliysical and military training — two and a half hours a day of it. You wUI 
come out of this course feeling better and tougher than you have ever lelt 
in your life. 

That two and a half hours a day Could be spent (oohshly. In just 

going through the motions. But it won't be spent that way. Everything you 
do in those periods has a purpose. For example, there are times whpn a 
Signal Corps soldier must defend himself. I saw tegular army Signal 
Corps men with pistols at their sides captured in a maneuver by a few 
lialted tanks. It didn't occtir to tiwse soldiers to fi^ht bitck and thAt a 
fmlted tank is fair gafite for armed men o-n foot. That nuist never happen 
to you. You aren't being taught to fight with any idea that you v^ill replace 
the infanti"y, but so that you will have confidence in yourself and in your 
weapon .... so you won't give up if a Jap sets off a fire cracker near you. 
It's a hundr^ to one that you may never need this trainingj but the 
hundrr^th man is dead meat if he hasn't had this training or hasn't 
profited by it. 

To harden you physically j there are Calisthenics, runs through the 
obstacle t-ourses, and hikes. Like your school work, you'll get out ol 
these what you put into them. If you maise a,n honest try every time on 
the obstacle course, you will find it getting easier day by day and you will 
be proud of yourself. It is excellent training for H'ork as a second story- 
man if nothing else. The hikes can be fun when you are singing. They 
won't be so much fun when you arc wearing a gas mask. But you'd better 
get used to that gas mask. In battle when your life is at stake is a poor 
time to start learning all about it. 

You must learn about taking care of yourself in the field, Many things 
that the untrained man does in the field can end his life Just as neatly as 
an enemy bullet. You must know how to keep yourself clean and to tidj- 
up your camp, or disease will lay you by the heels Ju.st as surely aa it 
has always done in the past. In every war ol h!(5tory more men died of 
disease than died in battle. We aim to do a lot better this time — we are 
doing hotter. You can keep yourself from becoming a needless casualty 
to disease if you Icam now the simple rules of field soldiering. 



There are some paratJes and close order drilL These develop in men a 
solidarity ot feC'llng, an ability to act promptly together. Your basic 

train] nfT lasted only a month. It Isn't something to be done and forgotten. 
These brief earlUs help to keep alive the snap and precision tliat a good 
BOlctler needs. They help to inculcate in everyone the spirit of loyal, 
unquestioning obedience. That is very necessary for there are many 
times when we must obey blindly ^ promptly, and wiSthout questioning, 

The military courtesy that you had in your basic training Is also kept 
alive by short periods of instrQction, Think for a moment about the time 
when you fail to salute an ofllcer. Why does he correct you? Because he 
wants to be saluted? IVot likely — for h& has to do a lot more saluting 
than you do. Indeed, it takes his time to stop and correct you. It is a 
great temptation to every officer Just to ignore the fact that one of you 
has failed to salute him. But the fact that you didn't salute shows that 
you weren't wide awake, alert. II you can't learn to keep your head up 
and your eyes opf^n now, you'll be the one who kicks off the trip wire of 
a booby trap. 

All of these things are equally' important in your training. If you put 
your heart, into this school training, you will emerge a fine Signal Corps 
soldier. And a soldier of the Signal Corps has every right to feel proud 
of himself. The generals^ the oolonelsj all the ofTlcers depend upon the 
Signal Corps to "get the message thronsh." T.t we fall down, the general 
can/t command his division. We are always working directly for the top 
people; without us there would be no Issuing orders because no one would 
ever get them. We have a big responsibility and to do our jobs we have to 
be good. Don't waste your time while you are here. The American Army 
is depending on the Signal Corps to deliver the goods. You are an im- 
portant part of the Signal Corps, Don't fall down on the job. Be proud that 
you have a tough job to do and be proud that you are man enough to 
do it. 



W. O. REEDER, 

B'fig{icJ-ier General^ U. 3. Army, 






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